Kris Carlson

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A schematic of the spinal cord wiring by Lahey Neurosciences Simulation Group

Schematic of spinal cord wiring

I am with the Neurosimulation Group in Neurosurgery Research at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) in Boston, MA, USA. We run software that models neurological disorders and their treatment. Our PI, neurosurgeon Dr. Jeffrey Arle, designed software that models neural circuits down to the synapse. The group has previously modeled Deep Brain Stimulation for Parkinson’s Disease in the subthalamic nucleus, motor cortex stimulation, and the operation of the cochlear nucleus.

We have built the world’s most complete model of the spinal cord and pain signaling. Why mild electrical stimulation of the spinal cord (a form of neuromodulation) eliminates chronic, debilitating pain signals, is unknown. We are close to understanding key parts of the mechanisms through our simulations.

My role in this project is software architecture, CAD design of the spinal cord and electrical stimulators (with SolidWorks), finite element analysis of the effect of the stimulators on the spinal cord (with COMSOL), and general pre- and post-processing with Mathematica.

Other members of the group are Dr. Jay Shils (electrical engineer and neurophysiologist), Longzhi Mei (programmer), and Nick Iftemia (spinal cord research).

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